Getting the Most Out of Field Trips, Part I: Research

Making the most of a field trip comes with deliberate planning – not a crazy obsessive ordeal – but knowing what to do, being prepared can make the day complete!

A Homeschool Mom

Who doesn’t like a good field trip? There’s nothing quite like fresh air, a change of scenery, and a little exercise to rejuvenate your learning routine. While field trips can be a lot of fun, they will quickly turn into a frustrating mess when not planned properly. Join us as we share tips on how to make the most of any field trip and explore ideas for a smoother day.

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Field-TripsWhen it comes to field trips, the last thing to pop into our minds is research. Usually, we just pick a day to get out of the house, pick a location to spend the day, hop in our cars, and take off! What usually results is a busy rush to get out the door, cranky kids wondering when we will arrive, and an overly full afternoon rushing around the exhibits, trying to get the most out of the trip…

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Educational Games Kids Can Play During Their Spring Break

It’s mid March already (can you believe it!) and you must be scratching your head trying to come up with fun ways to engage the kids during their spring break! I know I was and while in the process, started compiling a list of  educational games that the kids could get busy with. I’ve come up with what I’d like to think of as a cool mix of educational games that will keep the little ones on their toes this spring. Sit back, and enjoy!

Educational Game #1 – License Plates Scavenger Hunt

This educational game is a treasure trove of fun and excitement! Play it to practice some geography.

You will need –

  • Checklist with the abbreviations of the U.S. states
  • Pencil

How to play –

  • Print out a checklist with all the 50 U.S. states and have your kids keep their eyes open to see how many license plates from different states they can find.
  • Name the correct state capital before checking off a state.
  • You can also color in an unlabeled U.S. map instead of using a checklist to test your child’s knowledge of national geography.
  • The game is over when all the states are checked off.

How it helps –

Recollection of state abbreviations

Educational Game #2 – Counting Coins

Play this educational spring game with the kids while traveling.

You will need –

  • Plenty of coins

How to play –

  • You can play this game with the kids only if you’re in the passenger seat.
  • Pull out as much loose change as you can find.
  • Ask him/her to count the change. Throw in another task by asking him/her to guess the total amount before counting it!
  • After he/she counts it once, remove a few coins and ask for a recount.
  • Can your son or daughter guess which coins are missing?

How it helps –

Counting, recollection power

Educational Game #3 – Lunar Tags

Let’s just imagine that the backyard is the night sky and a football is the moon. The objective of the game is to be the first to get the football, “the moon”. This game has to be played after the sun sets. The darker, the better!

You will need –

  • Backyard
  • Friends
  • A football
  • Flashlight

How to play –

  • Choose one player as the ‘astronaut’.
  • Have him stand anywhere in the backyard with a flashlight in one hand and the football in the other.
  • Ask him to close his eyes and count till 29 – the number of days in a lunar cycle.
  • While he counts, the other players have to run and hide themselves all over the backyard.
  • He has to call out “full moon” as soon as he finishes counting till 29.
  • Once he calls out “full moon”, players try to run to him and grab the ball without being caught in the flashlight’s beam.
  • The ‘astronaut’ can turn off the light between tags and sneak up on players to catch them!
  • Whoever reaches the ‘full moon’ first is declared the winner and becomes the next ‘astronaut’. And, when a player is caught in the light, he’s out.

How it helps –

Hand-eye coordination, knowledge of the lunar cycle

10 Reasons Why I Will Continue to Give my Children Handheld Devices

10 Reasons Why I Will Continue to Give my Children Handheld Devices – A very good argument on why technology is a tool for learning!

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Image My children, both on handheld devices, learning and laughing.

Last week the Huffington Post ran this article titled 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.

As an educator who advocates for the intentional and appropriate use of technology, I could go on about this forever. But instead I’m writing here as a mother.

Here are my 10 reasons why I will continue giving my children handheld devices, and all other forms of technology as well.

1) Because banning things never, ever, ever works. 

Remember when your parents wouldn’t let you watch rated R movies so you just went to your friends’ houses to watch them? I think I’d rather have my kids using technology and handheld devices with me beside them. Where I can engage with them, answer questions, and limit content if I have concerns.

2) Problem solving.

When my kids…

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Ode to the Board of Education

image

I saw this when I was researching facts for an article I was writing and it made me laugh hysterically. It’s a good thing I wasn’t drinking anything at the time. While the meme is hilarious, it also makes one wonder about “education” and what it means to a majority of the people. And do we really truly learn?

I dream of a day when children come up to you and ask you to teach them something new – something truly useful. A huge overhaul of the education system might be in store, someday. Till then, one can dream, can’t she?

In other news, two more of my posts are up and free on the internet. Nothing gives me more joy than to be able to write about topics I feel passionately about and have them be appreciated by the community.

Do check out my digital footprints tab for more. Meanwhile, here is my favorite from this month – 5 ways to have fun with kids on St. Patrick’s Day.

Hope you are all well

xx

Wearable Technologies

I was thinking a lot last weekend about how slowly technology got integrated into our day to day lives and seeped into the education field. The beginnings were slow and then BAM suddenly, we were using technology for everything – there is always a gadget, a hack and an app for whatever your heart desires. Still, it is fairly a new thing in the classroom. Old school educational institutes are still hesitant to introduce internet based learning. There are pluses and minuses to any argument, one which I will not get into right now. But I did read a very interesting blog about wearable technologies.

What an AMAZING concept that there will be technology that you wear and that can be harnessed to assist not just in your chores and work but in constantly learning. There is the potential to get addicted to it but there is also such great potential. And if it is targeted towards education, you would have hit jackpot!

What are your views on the concept?